Jas H. Smith & Company, Chicago, Illinois             circa 1901-1903


The Sunflower had its own unique design among multiplying cameras that originated with the Southworth & Hawes/Simon Wing models of the 1860 and 1870's here in the United States. By the time it was introduced, some might argue that the style had already been in decline. Yet, multiplying cameras were still being offered as late as 1921.


Other multiplying cameras that shared the era with the Sunflower, included Simon Wing's New Gem, Ajax, Yankee Multiplier, View and Special Button Camera No. 1 models, along with G. Gennert's Penny Picture Camera and Schaub's Multiplying Camera. Photographic supply houses also marketed other maker's models, as well as their own private-branded cameras. The period also saw a number of multiplying backs that could be purchased separately, such as the Klay-Diller Multiplying Plate Holder and Sackett's Multigraph Attachment.


Capable of taking 6, 8, 12, 18, 24 or 36 images on a single 5x7 inch plate, the Sunflower's design was conceived by Jacob F. Standiford of Fort Scott, Kansas, under Patent No. 668,888 for a "Multiplying Photographic Camera" on February 26, 1901:





                Source:  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office




                 Source:  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office




                 Source:  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office



Jacob Standiford was a photographer during the 1870's and 1880's, particularly known for his Native American images. He located to Muskogee, Indian Territory in 1878, apparently being the only photographer licensed by the Creek Nation to operate there. Later in the 1880's, Standiford would operate in Kansas, and cabinet cards bearing his name can be found today.


Jas. H. Smith & Co. of Chicago, Illinois would market the Sunflower, Jas. H. Smith having been in the photographic business since the early 1870's.  Although Jas. H. Smith & Co. identified itself as a manufacturer, it was primarily a marketer of products by others and it's not known who actually built the Sunflower. The company would later evolve into the Smith-Victor Corporation, having associated itself with flash powder, lighting and other photo products after the turn of the century. 


The example shown here, formerly resided in the collection of Thurman F. "Jack" Naylor. Its partial manufacturer's label is seen in the photos, located on the camera's base.  The tag would probably have read "The Sunflower Multiplying Camera, Pat. Feb. 26, 1901, made by Jas. H. Smith & Company, Chicago".  Other known examples of the Sunflower have been found with a brass name tag located on the vertical back section.



As to the Sunflower's introduction, the years 1901 and 1903 have been put forth by several knowledgeable collectors.  Other than a known 1903 advertisement, a catalogue ad that I've been unable to verify the date for and the one patent, little else has been found to determine how long the camera was produced.



Based on what's known so far, and that in many instances cameras and shutters were introduced well before the patents for their designs were secured, the Sunflower may have been made for three or four years at best.   At least three examples are known to exist.